Medicaid service providers across the state are asking why Gov. Culver chose to raise reimbursement rates for AFSCME union members while everyone else continues to provide services at a lower payment level. Legislative Republicans are pushing for answers from the governor and the state’s Medicaid agency.
“State government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers,” said Rep. Linda Upmeyer, Republican Whip. “In this case, if you happen to be an AFSCME member, you win. This kind of favoritism reeks of an election-year stunt and is not fair to many hard working Iowans across the state.”
In late August, the Iowa Medicaid Enterprise put out a bulletin announcing that reimbursement rates would be increased by 2.5 percent for in-home care givers operating under the Consumer Directed Attendant Care program (CDAC). In its explanation of the decision, the Department of Human Services said that AFSCME, who represents CDAC providers, had filed a grievance over the cut. To resolve the dispute, DHS agreed to restore the rates which will cost taxpayers $1.1 million.
This action restored the rates to the level prior to Governor Culver’s across the board cuts last winter which were then adopted by the Legislature in the 2011 budget. In the Human Services budget bill which was signed by the governor, it was specifically stated that rates could not increase. In this move, the governor contradicted his own law.
“Apparently, the Governor can pick and choose which laws he follows,” said Upmeyer. “He owes non-union caregivers and Iowans an explanation.”